An aching shoulder that affects arm movement may not seem too serious, but it’s a red flag that you could be developing a frozen shoulder. The board-certified orthopedic surgeons at Northeast Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine can limit the severity of a frozen shoulder when you get treatment in the early stage. Without treatment, your recovery could take years, so don't wait to schedule an appointment. Use the online booking feature, or call one of their offices in Live Oak or San Antonio, Texas.
In your shoulder joint, the round area of your upper arm fits into the cup-like socket in your shoulder blade. The entire joint is covered by connective tissue that forms the shoulder capsule.
A frozen shoulder occurs when inflammation develops in the capsule. As a result, the tissues become scarred and tighten, which interferes with arm movement.
Your risk of developing a frozen shoulder increases if you're over the age of 40 or had a previous shoulder injury like a rotator cuff tear. Though the reason remains unknown, your risk also increases if you have diabetes, a thyroid problem, cardiovascular disease, or Parkinson's disease.
A frozen shoulder causes aching pain and limited arm movement. After the shoulder capsule starts affecting arm movement, your shoulder goes through three stages:
Your pain gradually worsens as the joint progressively loses its range of motion. During this stage, which lasts six weeks to nine months, it becomes increasingly hard to move your arm.
During this stage, severe shoulder stiffness and restricted arm movement make it hard or impossible to take care of daily tasks like brushing your hair. However, the pain typically starts to improve. The frozen stage lasts 4-6 months.
Though your shoulder eventually starts to heal and movement improves, your progress is slow going. Without treatment, it takes six months to two years to regain normal strength and movement.
Northeast Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine focuses your treatment on easing the inflammation and maintaining arm movement. Nonsurgical treatment often works well when it starts at an early stage.
Physical therapy is the cornerstone of your treatment. You need to progressively stretch the tissues to restore and maintain movement.
With the goal of reducing the inflammation, your provider may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, inject steroids, or both.
If nonsurgical treatment doesn't help or you have severe symptoms, you may be a good candidate for surgery. Your provider may recommend one of two procedures: manipulation under anesthesia or shoulder arthroscopy.
Using regional anesthesia, your provider can put the shoulder through its full range of motion, and you won’t feel the pain. Manipulation under anesthesia improves movement by breaking up the scar tissue. During arthroscopy, your provider surgically releases the scar tissue.
Don't wait to get help for a frozen shoulder. Call Northeast Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, or book an appointment online today.